California Gov. Gavin Newsom has enacted a series of recent policies and signed laws that some observers warn could push out Bible-believing Christians from law enforcement work.
Back on Sept. 30, Newsom signed AB 2229, which, among other things, requires all police applicants in the state to undergo psychological evaluation to determine “bias” based on sexual orientation or gender.
A companion bill, AB 2547, would require police departments to review applicants’ social media profiles for “potential biases, such as affiliation with hate groups.” Also on Sept. 30, Newsom signed AB 665, which bars police applicants who have been affiliated with “hate groups” in the last seven years.
As a report in the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal has noted, California and other states have a legitimate public safety interest in identifying hate group affiliation. But increasingly, the definition of the term has been applied to Christian organizations that hold to a Biblical view of sexuality.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center … has branded mainstream conservative and Christian organizations as ‘hate groups’ and put them on a list with the likes of the Ku Klux Klan, often for reasons that amount to ideological disagreement,” the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal noted. Those Christian organizations include the Family Research Council and the Pacific Justice Institute in California.
As of now, the California law defines hate groups as “an organization that supports, advocates for, threatens, or practices genocide or the commission of hate crimes.” But critics worry the application of that definition will eventually be applied more broadly.
In 2021, Newsom began requiring the state’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to have all police applicants evaluated for “implicit bias” based on gender and sexual orientation. He also signed SB 2, which revokes a police officer’s badge if the officer displays such bias. SB 2 would bar such officers from serving in California again.
As Ben Johnson of the Family Research Council pointed out, “Barring anyone who displays even the most imperceptible ‘bias’ against displays of gender nonconformity or homosexual activity could exclude the most qualified candidates, who also follow such Judeo-Christian concepts as the Golden Rule.”
Moreover, wrote Matthew McReynolds of the Pacific Justice Institute in a letter to state senators: “The last thing California needs is to drive even more qualified peace officers to states with lower taxes, lower costs of living, and more freedom and more respect for men and women in uniform. Your constituents urgently need to be protected from out-of-control crime in this State. They do not need to be protected from politically incorrect Facebook posts.”
According to the Daily Signal, police chiefs in cities such as San Francisco and Sacramento have reported losing officers to retirement and resignation faster than they can be replaced.
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